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Better, Stronger, Faster: The Myth of American Decline . . . and the Rise of a New Economy Hardcover – May 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Daniel Gross is one of the smartest, toughest, and most skeptical business writers around. If he says sunny days are ahead, we should all believe him. This book is not just well written and chockablock with new insights and information, it's amusing." --Jonathan Alter, author of The Promise and columnist for Bloomberg View

"Yes, the United States took a huge hit from economic crisis, but talk of its long-run decline is overdone and premature. In Better, Stronger, Faster, Daniel Gross rebuts the the declinists and documents the enduring strengths that power America's ability to transform and reset itself in dynamic ways. The United States is poised to emerge from the crisis in better shape than any of its commonly touted old and new competitors." --Richard Florida, author of The Great Reset and The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited, and director of the University of Toronto's Martin Prosperity Institute

“Daniel Gross is an author and journalist who is not afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom. His latest book does this with tremendous style, by directly attacking the ‘America is doomed’ camp, to paint a portrait of America that is far more vibrant than critics usually acknowledge. Not everyone will agree with this account, least of all in an election year; however, it should be required reading for anybody who wants to understand the current state of the American recoveryand the country's place in a fast-changing world." Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor, Financial Times, and author of Fool’s Gold

"Gross comes along now with the counterintuitive view that America is not in decline after all. He confronts the conventional wisdom of 'declinism' with a robust mix of statistics and argument, and offers us reasons to be more cheerful about the state of American economy than we have allowed ourselves to be." --Tina Brown, Newsweek

About the Author

Daniel Gross is the economics editor and a columnist at Yahoo! Finance. From 2007 through August 2010, Gross was a senior editor at Newsweek, where he wrote the "Contrary Indicator" column. During this time he also wrote a twice-weekly Moneybox column for Slate. Prior to joining Newsweek, he wrote the "Economic View" column in the New York Times/ Gross has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, C-SPAN, and on more than 35 radio programs, including NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross (no relation). He is the author of  Dumb Money, Pop!: Why Bubbles Are Great for the Economy, Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time; and Bull Run: Wall Street, the Democrats, and the New Politics of Personal Finance. He lives in Connecticut.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451621280
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451621280
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,097,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Edward Durney VINE VOICE on September 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I picked Daniel Gross's book Better, Stronger, Faster off the shelf, flipped a few pages, and started reading about the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) that was passed by Congress in 2008. I thought Daniel Gross did a good job writing about how that played out. A good summary of the facts. Reasonable analysis. So I got the book and brought it home to read from start to end.

My favorable first impressions fizzled. Daniel Gross writes fairly well, but in a style that channels Tom Friedman. It's a style that has never appealed to me--the author tells a story to capture your interest, and then draws conclusions and ideas from the story to build on his or her argument. Evidence by anecdote (often a personal one). Ignoring the admonition that the plural of anecdote is not data, the author can justify just about anything in this way. And that is what Daniel Gross does.

Some of what Daniel Gross says is shocking. Not that what he says is particularly important. But I had to wonder how he could believe some of these things. One example: on page 206 he talks about the 250,000 men of the Civilian Conservation Corps working in the summer of 1933. "They planted 3 billion trees, build eight hundred state parks, and saved the nation's topsoil." That's ridiculous. They didn't save the nation's topsoil. But Daniel Gross says things like that all the time.

Some of what Daniel Gross says is inane. He tells about his trips to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He tells about his family's trip to Hawaii. He tells about his travels to various places around the world. Not that one cannot improve one's perspective by travel. But for me, the tales of travel were too much.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Popular press book about some of the challenges facing the american & Global economy. However the books does make good points. The US economy can still create new brand names.
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By Cheryle Wills on May 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has information about the recession that I forgot or did not know. This helps to understand what happened during that time better. Interesting reading.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sremani on May 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am avid follower of Tech Ticker and its new avatar The Daily Ticker on Yahoo Finance, on which Daniel Gross time and again went against the grain and committed blasphemy of being optimistic and at times bullish about America and he was right more than any other pundit out there. The book clearly makes a case for how US has adapted to the new realities and how there are opportunities for US in the conventional manufacturing and other unconventional ways. How American brand power has redefined consumption around the planet and the assets the US corporations have that are envy of the world. It is unique aggregation of tales and short-stories that cover various angles and makes a case against the "Decline".

In one word this is an uplifting book. No, it does not tell you that we should think only positive and that every thing is hunky dory about US, but lays out the case very well with tinge of American exceptional-ism. But there are ways that US is and will be able to keep it competitive advantage and does not unlike some books list the Republican talking points.

The book has some interesting facts about TARP/Bailout and how those men who have thanklessly done the job of keeping the system together need our tip of the hat instead of vilification that is in vogue.

Two thumbs up.
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11 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gderf on June 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
There's a good history of TARP and private corporate history of 2008 especially Citi.

Gross misses the primary factors in American decline over the past half century, particularly the burden on American labor that renders our products uncompetitive no matter much the dollar is devalued. He ignores our permanently negative trade balance and decline in the dollar which is a better indicator than anything Gross analyzes. He ignores the Green anti energy and anti nuclear lobbies. He observes but minimizes migration of jobs to Asia. He ignores the long term drag on the economy of consumer and student debt. He denigrates 'declinism' by writers such as Peter Schiff, Naill Ferguson, Kenneth Rogoff, George Wills and (strangely) Joseph Stiglitz. Actually, reading any of the above will convince the reader of the feebleness of Gross's analysis. He uses really stupid metaphors for the economy, including the muscles of Tim Tebow and the 6 million dollar man.

Gross seems to take comfort in the idea that others are currently doing worse than we are, for example France Spain and Greece and Japan, where there are 100 suicides a day. He describes anecdotal success stories of Big Belly Solar trash compactors, EnerNOC, Boeing exports to Qatar and others. However, projection to the American economy doesn't work as there are two failures for every success. Ironically, he cites banking improvement, including JP Morgan Chase before the latest debacle.

FDI is a two edged sword. Foreigners see opportunity, but it exposes current account deficits.
Chinese and Canadian purchases imply loss of earnings for US corporations and economy. Gross cites increasing exports while failing to cite imports, which are increasing faster. His logic appears to be something like 1-2=1.
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